by Chris Little
May is National Bike Month, and the League of American Bicyclists has named May 17–23 National Bike-to-Work Week. HABPI is celebrating Bike Month with a contest that we hope will encourage you to get out and ride—not just to work (especially since lots of folks are still working remotely), but also for errands or just to get some fun exercise outside.
The contest runs May 17–31. We’ll award prizes by random drawing to riders in two categories: those who ride for fun and exercise, and those riding to work or school or to run errands. How to participate? Whenever you ride your bike from May 17–31, make a note of how many miles you rode and why—did you ride for fun … or to get to work, school, or to run errands? On June 1, add up how many bike trips you made and how many miles you rode in each category, and email your totals to email@example.com. We’ll enter your name in our drawing and notify the winners by email!
It wouldn’t be a contest without prizes, right? So we’ll make sure the winner of each category receives, in addition to local fame, a $50 gift certificate to Gettysburg Bike & Fitness. Runners-up will receive HABPI T-shirts.
When you get out on your bike, you’re joining a growing community of folks who are choosing to get around on two wheels instead of four—especially since the COVID epidemic. In Pennsylvania alone, commuting by bike has increased more than 100% since 2005. People are finding that even short rides can decrease stress, increase fitness, boost happiness, even improve sleep! What’s more, every mile you ride your bike instead of drive your car, you prevent a pound of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere—and you save 2/3 cup of gas!
Here are five suggestions to help you get back onto your bike:
- Start slow. You don’t have to ride far to reap cycling’s benefits. Start by just riding up and down your street, and graduate to longer rides as you gain confidence and fitness.
- Keep it simple. You don’t have to have a fancy bike or a lot of spandex, either. If you don’t have a bike, stop by Gettysburg Bike & Fitness and check out their selection of used bikes. They can also tune up that old Schwinn that’s been gathering dust in the back of your garage.
- Stay safe. Be sure to wear a helmet. That should be a no-brainer.
- Make it fun. Grab a friend or your family. It’s fun to explore quiet local roads with a friend or the kids.
- Explore! Not sure where to ride? Visit HABPI.org to explore our many recommended bike loops—we’ve got a wide range of lengths and difficulty levels, and our website includes descriptions of the rides and even maps you can download and print.
But you don’t have to be a bicyclist to support National Bike Month and Bike-to-Work Week! If you’re more likely to commute or run errands in your car, you can support our local bicyclists by being sure to follow the state law that requires you to maintain a four-foot buffer when passing a bicyclist on the road. And yes—it’s permissible when safe to cross the yellow line into the opposing lane to allow that buffer.
Chris Little has lived in Adams County since 2001 and enjoys walking and bicycling in our beautiful county. She lives with her husband Tom, is a HABPI board member, and serves in other county organizations.